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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Love is in the air

    Kris Heavner
    Kris Heavner

    So you want a date with a member of the Arizona softball team? Well, you’d better know how to take snaps, throw a baseball over 85 mph or hit a golf ball 300 yards.

    Almost half of the defending National Championship softball team is currently dating other athletes within the athletic department.

    Seven of the team’s 18 players are going steady with UA baseball players, football players and golfers. Among the relationships are catcher Callista Balko and senior backup quarterback Kris Heavner, who have been seeing each other since Balko’s freshman year.

    After the two met, Heavner transferred to Baylor in 2005 for other football opportunities after having only minor success as an Arizona starter. But he came back to the UA in 2006, not only to play football, but also to be with his girlfriend, Balko.

    “”He came back for me,”” Balko said. “”We’ve been together kind of on and off ever since, but we’ve been steady since August.””

    Heavner also came back to try out for the baseball team, and he made it as a pitcher, but Balko said he ultimately decided his heart was with football and her.

    “”I think he just went with his gut,”” Balko said. “”At first I was kind of mad at him, because I didn’t want him to make a decision like that over me, but it’s worked out for the better.””

    Balko said that despite Heavner having the added flair of being a college football quarterback, the title had nothing to do with pursuing a relationship with him.

    “”He had that status, which was kind of fun, but I had always thought he was cute,”” she said. “”I didn’t know who he was.””

    Balko said they met through mutual friends. Her friend knew Balko liked Heavner and hacked into her e-mail and sent him a love letter. Heavner responded, and the two hit it off.

    “”It was kind of an odd way to meet,”” Balko admitted.

    Another softball player dating an athlete is first baseman Sam Banister, who has been dating baseball pitcher Daniel Schlereth for about five months now.

    “”I guess it’s just in their taste,”” Schlereth said. “”Maybe it’s just because we play baseball and they’re around baseball. I hope they just like us for the person and not the sport we play.””

    Said Banister of their relationship: “”I don’t really know if I should say how we met.

    “”I broke up with my boyfriend the day before, and then I started going out with (Schlereth)…He’s pretty crazy. He’s a lot like me.””

    Banister said Schlereth’s father, Mark, a former NFL offensive lineman and current ESPN analyst, approves of the relationship.

    Other baseball players dating players of the girl’s version of the sport are first baseman C.J. Ziegler, who is steady with pitcher Taryne Mowatt; redshirt freshman catcher Daniel Butler, who is with reserve outfielder Jill Malina; and freshman infielder Walker Moore, who is seeing freshman leftfielder K’Lee Arredondo.

    For Valentine’s Day, Mowatt said she knows that Ziegler is planning something for both of them, but that she will not find out what it is until today.

    Of the non-baseball sort, golfer Tyler Neal is dating right fielder Adrienne Acton. Last year, football lineman Eddie Rollman dated first baseman Laine Roth, but Rollman no longer attends Arizona.

    The softball team has long been a target for several men’s athletes, including Diamondbacks pitcher Casey Daigle.

    Daigle never played at Arizona, but he originally went to UA softball games when he was a member of the Tucson Sidewinders because he had heard about the beauty of Jennie Finch, she said last year.

    Finch and Daigle are now married with one child who bears a fitting name: Ace.

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